Do you remember that old ketchup commercial about how you had to wait for the thick ketchup to slowly make its way out of the bottle? That ketchup may have been worth the wait, but lately I have noticed a few things about me and anticipation. It’s making me wait, and it’s also making me cranky, edgy, and angry.
I’ve shared on multiple occasions that I moved abroad for better quality healthcare. With every health setback I would smile and do my best to be optimistic about what was to come. Unfortunately, my most recent hospital stay has changed something inside me, and I am just realizing this nearly three months later. I, the self-professed joy junkie, am having a difficult time being anything lately beyond a curmudgeon.
When you move abroad, you must endure things that you are not accustomed to from your home country, like visa runs. I realized the change in my attitude and my feelings as I prepared for a trip to Laos (where I am currently writing this column). I didn’t want to come here. I just wanted to stay in my apartment, so I made all of my plans at the very last minute.
There have been mishaps the past few times I have traveled, so I started this trip with feelings of dread that this would continue to carry through on this trip. Guess what? It did. I booked an extra day anticipating that something would go wrong, and ended up having to stay an additional two days. It was my reaction to this that helped me begin to examine my feelings.
I’ve started to expect bad things instead of good things since my last hospital stay. I look at the world and see more negative than positive, and I have asked myself, “Why am I fighting so hard to live a life of pain in a place where I have no real connections?” I am making friends, have a great support system – but I still feel a bit empty. Every time I take a pill, every time I deal with pain, and every time a new inconvenience comes along, I ask myself, “Why bother?”
I feel afraid every time I am in pain, fearful that this will be yet another hospital stay. I no longer enjoy my travels, as I am constantly worried that the cost of traveling is taking money away that will be needed if I have another hospital stay.
Fortunately for me, I keep journals where I am open and honest with myself. When I am feeling a bit off my norm, I sit down and really question myself. I am not overly enthusiastic about what I have assessed with this self-check, but taking care of the problem can only be handled if you are willing to admit there is a problem.
Today I will admit that my attitude has been in the crapper as I calculate every dollar, travel location, and negative feeling. It scares me to be out of the country where I have now created a support system, because I would hate to go to another unfamiliar hospital. The last stay was almost an entire week. And they wanted to keep me longer because I had a swollen liver, heart, lungs, and blood that wouldn’t clot. It really scared me – I just didn’t realize how much until it was time to travel yet again.
I am working to get back to my joy-junkie attitude, but I just wanted to share that if you are feeling a little hopeless, you are not alone. We can do our best to remember that we are still here, we have people who love us, and that everything works out. So I will do my best to stop anticipating the bad and look forward to the good.
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